31 August 2009

Nickels & Dimes...

..add up. Pretty soon you're talking about real money.
Or, how about a free Hawaiian vacation?

Long about last spring, SCMom mentioned they have this timeshare on Hawaii available. She offered to reserve it during the SCSon's school break so we could all meet up down there. We checked into airfares and found that I could by myself a "new" car* for what the airlines wanted to transport us there and back. So we backed out.

Turns out SCMom made the reservation and cashed in a bunch of airline miles for their tickets. Now that she's no longer available for the trip, SCDad says he's not going. So if we want to go here's the week's lodging and two round trip tickets. We'd only need to get a ticket for the SCSon.

Oh and rent a car for the week. +$230
Then the resort charges a cleaning fee. +$80
.State wants a cut too, +$35.

And that flight To and From the islands originates 300 miles west of the SandCastle.
Option 1: SandCastle-1
Gas for round trip budget $400
Parking for SandCastle-1 probably another $100.
And taxi rides between whatever airport we abandon the plane at and LAX, easily another $100. Oh and the return flight is a red-eye which gets it back to LAX around 6am. Weather conditions could be IFR (Instrument Flight Rules (clouds/fog) - a reasonably easy video game, but you only get one life and the results are permanent. This is not a good bet following a red-eye flight).

Option 2: South West Airlines $375.

Option 3: Drive - gas: $50-60, Parking ~$100 + an extra vacation day and plan on two days driving. Across Los Angeles. (no thanks)

Easy choice - SWA wins

Oh, and the timeshare is on the island of Kauai. A lot of what we want to see (like Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona) is on the island of Oahu. So we need to figure a way to get over there for a day or two. add in another $350 for round trip tickets. Maybe another rental car as well. That's still cheaper than a separate trip back here.

Oh and that third ticket for the SCSon. +$750 (aren't we in a recession and the airlines are hungry?).
There is a fee to change those free tickets over to our names, about $45 each.
Oh and $20 for the first checked bag. ($30 for the second.) Each way! Budget an extra $100 for baggage fees. (Can UPS ship cheaper?)
Once on the plane, the airline charges for everything on the 5+ hour flight. So if we need dinner, a snack or a drink, fork over some more. +$25 each way

So now our "free" trip to Hawaii is going to cost us "only" $2060. I've probably missed a few incidentals, round it up to $2100.

But we're going anyway. I firmly believe a) you can't take it with you, and b) on your death bed you only regret the things you didn't do. Look for pictures on our return!

* I buy used cars, not new cars. This is a big part of how I save money to do other fun stuff, like fly aiplanes. Last time I paid more than $2500 for a car, Bush-41 was in the White House


Bitter said...

If you haven't already purchased things like the inter-island tickets, you really should be reading expert travel sites to find out how to get great deals. They can probably point you to significant savings on a rental as well. One of my favorite new sites for tracking deals on the islands is Beat of Hawaii.

As for the total cost, it's really quite reasonable. I would say that is about as close to you can come for a full family to free. Hotels are going to be your biggest expense in Hawaii - by far - if you stay for more than a couple of nights. So if you have your housing covered, that is a significant part of your cost right there. Add in two adult airline tickets for only $90, and that's a fantastic deal.

danno said...

Thanks Bitter. We'll check it out. We've done most of our searching via the web, but didn't come across that site.

MansTouch said...

Planning a trip ahead of time can help lessen the stress. Researching on airfare promos will be great especially if the budget is limited, it is usually during off peak season.
Lifestyles of Paris